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Developers begin transforming NYCHA parking lot into senior housing

Ground has been broken for a 204-unit senior housing property on a former NYCHA parking lot in the Bronx.

Casa Celina, located on NYCHA’s Justice Sonia Sotomayor campus in the Soundview neighborhood, will be a 100 percent affordable project developed under the city’s Senior First Program which allocates under-used NYCHA sites for development and finances the work through HPD’s Senior Affordable Rental Apartments (SARA) Program.

A development team led by ELH Mgmt. LLC; The Kretchmer Companies; Xenolith Partners and JASA, an agency serving older New Yorkers, won an RFP to develop the site on the corner of Watson and Thieriot Avenue. The team gathered with representatives from HPD, HDC, and NYCHA to celebrate the groundbreaking earlier this week.

“This construction start is the beginning of an impactful project that demonstrates the vision of the agencies’ Seniors First program and their ongoing commitment to providing high-quality, sustainable and elegant affordable housing for seniors,” said Andrea Kretchmer, principal of Xenolith Partners.

“Our joint venture team of veteran developers …  is excited to continue our work with the resident and community leadership at Sotomayor Houses as construction gets underway. Crucial services for seniors provided by our partner JASA will be complemented by new landscaping, improved drainage, and playground upgrades, features that will benefit all Sotomayor residents.”

The site was formerly a parking lot on the corner of Watson and Thieriot.

The 204 senior-led households consist of 46 one-bedrooms and 158 studios; NYCHA’s Leased Housing Department provided the project-based vouchers for all 204 units. The apartments are reserved for individuals and families making up to 50% AMI, or $47,750 for a family of two. The building will set aside 62 of the units, or 30%, for formerly homeless older adults and one superintendent’s unit.

JASA, the largest nonprofit manager of senior housing in New York City, will manage the property and provide supportive services and programming for older adults. 

The building has been designed to support the needs of senior residents with open and outdoor space for socializing and onsite support from JASA.

The building will also offer a range of amenities, including a 1,725 square-foot community senior space staffed by JASA with support from DFTA, a fitness room, laundry room, lounge spaces on each floor for residents, and a landscaped roof terrace where yoga classes and gardening will be available.

Designed by Magnusson Architecture and Planning, Casa Celina is built to support strong mental health with expansive windows throughout the apartments and common areas to offer abundant natural light. Additionally, bright resident lounges on each floor create a vertical network of social spaces, conducive for social interaction and helping to prevent isolation for residents living alone.

The development team gathered with representatives from HPD, HDC, and NYCHA to celebrate the groundbreaking earlier this week.

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